Feds: Oil from Dakota Fields Improperly Classified
U.S. crude oil production is forecast to reach 8.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2014 — up from 5 million barrels per day in 2008. The increase is overwhelmingly due to the fracking boom in North Dakota's Bakken region. Fracking involves the fracturing of rock with pressurized liquid to free oil and natural gas unreachable through conventional drilling.
Freight railroads in the U.S. transported nearly 234,000 carloads of crude oil in 2012, up from just 9,500 in 2008. Early data suggest that rail carloads of crude surpassed 400,000 in 2013, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Last month, U.S. and Canadian accident investigators warned that a "major loss of life" could result from an accident involving the increasing use of trains to transport large amounts of crude oil. They urged their governments to make stronger efforts to ensure hazardous cargo is properly classified before shipment. They also recommended that trains carrying hazardous materials avoid populated and other sensitive areas, and greater oversight to ensure rail carriers that transport oil are capable of responding to "worst-case discharges of the entire quantity of product carried on a train."
Associated Press writer Matthew Brown in Billings, Mont., contributed to this report.
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